April 2014

Busy, Busy, Busy

It is hard to write this report as I sit beside the river in The Great Smoky Mountains with birds singing and flying everywhere. And what a report I should be writing with all the first arrivals for the year, both summer residents and migratory birds leaving or going though Central Oklahoma. It has been a busy, busy, busy month for birds, birders plus one special bonus report.

On the 1st along South Jenkins Dick Gunn faced the usual annual battle between the incoming birds and the trees leafing out, but for the fifth year in a row he spotted the arrival of the Yellow-throated Warbler, meanwhile Torre Hovick saw a Merlin on Pasture 9 at the OSU research range. On the 2nd Jeremy Ross saw a Swainson’s Hawk at the Biological Survey in Norman, and Zara Howeton photographed Whooping Cranes at Canton Lake.

On the 3rd Larry Mays made a circuit along the Lake Hefner Dam and located Common Loon, Red-throated Loon, Pacific Loon and Eared Grebe. Steve Davis took a tour of the eagle nest at 63rd and Douglas Blvd, the red-tailed Hawk nest at Covell and Kelly and the Great Horned Owl nest at Britton Road and Hwy 4 while Katrina Huck saw a Little Blue Heron at Rose Lake. On the 4th Joe Grzybowski had a Chimney Swift fly over his house in Norman, and Jack Hurd saw a Forster’s Tern at Lake Overholser.

On the 5th Joe worked some fields in Norman’s 10 Mile Flats and finally found some migrating Sprague’s Pipits as well as Upland Sandpipers, American Golden-Plovers, and somewhat late Chestnut-collared Longspurs. In Seminole County at Lake Wewoka an anonymous birdwatchesr reported Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-and –white Warbler, and Northern Parula. On the 8th Hal Yocum had a single Ruby-throated Hummingbird at his feeder in Edmond. On the 9th Josh Haughawout discovered Northern Bobwhite and Grasshopper Sparrow at the KAEFS.

On the 10th Pat Velte and Terri Underhill located a pair of Ladder-backed Woodpeckers in Candian and Kingfisher Counties. On the 11th Hal reports the Black-chinned Hummingbird returned to Mitch Park for the 4th year. On the 12thin Kingfisher County Mary and Lou Trux located a Belted Kingfisher, Horned Lark, and Western Meadowlark, while along South Jenkins Dick reported one large and 6 half size River Otters.

On the 13th Dick Gunn, Brian and Hank (aged 1 ½) Davis located Prothonotary and Nashville Warblers. Later in the middle of the day, Brian saw an adult American Woodcock ushering a pair of very young chicks (still quite small and downy) across Rock Creek Road in the vicinity of NE 48th, while in Stillwater Scott Loss stepped outside and noted the migration of several species including a Bank Swallow.

On the 14th John Hurd found a Cinnamon Teal along Lake Overholser‘s west side. On the 15th, Jonah Padberg had a Black-chinned Hummingbird at his feeder in Crescent, and Jennifer Kidney saw a Northern Parula along South Jenkins. Calvin Reeds had a Peregrine Falcon and Osprey sitting on the red dirt beach at Lake Hefner; on the 17th Bill Diffin reported the Peregrine Falcon may have nailed one of the American Golden Plovers.

On the 18th John Shackford discovered a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher nest being built in his yard in Edmond.
Bill Adams visited Taylor Lake and located the Lewis’s Woodpecker and Pied-billed Grebe. In Stillwater Brandy Polo noticed a different hummingbird at their feeder, and she and John identified it as a presumed Rufous Hummingbird. Chad Ellis had a Western Sandpiper at Lake Hefner. On the 19th Matt Jung checked the mud flats at Lake Overholser and identified Hudsonian Godwits, Marbled Godwits, and Willets. Jimmy Woodward led an Audubon field trip to the Yukon City Park and noted White-breasted Nuthatch, Cedar Waxwing, Orange-crowned Warbler and Nashville Warbler. Larry Mays found a Barn Owl in Grady County at Lake Louis Burtschi, and at Lake Thunderbird T K had a Broad-winged Hawk, and Diana Beal had an Orchard Oriole.

On the 20th John Polo was at Boomer Lake and located Western Kingbird and Bell’s Vireo. Along South Jenkins the Raesides, Jennifer Kidney, Carol Enwall and Dick Gunn identified a Great Crested Flycatcher, Gray Catbird, Spotted Towhee, Black and White Warbler, and later Jennifer had a male Baltimore Oriole come to the jelly in her back yard!

Jimmy Woodward birded Meeker Lake in Lincoln County and located Green Heron, Wilson’s Phalarope, Ovenbird, Louisiana Waterthrush, and Dickcissel. Bill Diffin birded the mudflats along Lake Overholser and
discovered a Lesser Black-backed Gull, Semipalmated Plover, Stilt Sandpiper and Semipalmated Sandpiper.

On the 21st Larry May and Chad Ellis photographed a Snow Bunting at Prairie Dog Point, but it was gone the next day; Jim Magovern heard a Chuck-will’s-widow in Norman; Joe had a Swainson’s Thrush in Norman. On the 22nd Bill Diffin saw a Piping Plover at Prairie Dog Point; Torre Hovick had a Summer Tanager at Lake Overholser, and John Polo noticed a Blue-headed Vireo at Babcock Park in Stillwater. On the 23rd Steve and Mary saw White-faced Ibis at Prairie Dog Point while Dick Gunn spotted an Indigo Bunting along South Jenkins, and on the 24th he had a Pine Warbler along South Jenkins.

On the 25th Tamara Srader reported her parents’ pair of Painted Buntings arrived at their Lincoln County home. Dave Woodson found a single Black-necked Stilt at Lake Hefner. At Prairie Dog Point, Deanne McKinney had a Loggerhead Shrike pose for photographs. Along South Jenkins Dick Gunn, Joe Grzybowski and Larry Mays saw Solitary Sandpiper, Yellow Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Blue Grosbeak and an Indigo Bunting. In Grady County Larry Mays heard a Chuck-will’s-widow.

On the 26th Torre Hovick found a Black-bellied Plover at Lake Overholser, Joe had a Mississippi Kite fly over his yard in Norman, at Lake Thunderbird Larry Mays found a Yellow-throated Vireo and Joe had a Red-eyed Vireo. Chad Ellis had a Kentucky Warbler in Little Axe, and a Gray Catbird at Dolese Youth Park in OKC. On the 27th John Bates reported 8 Wood Ducks and a Merlin at the YWCA complex between Rockwell and MacArthur on NW 58th Street, while at Lake Overholser Bill Diffin had a Fish Crow. On the 30th along South Jenkins the local birders identified a Least Flycatcher. Alas!!! I hear a faucet dripping in the woods and must investigate. May the good birding continue next month.

In the Central Oklahoma area 183 bird species were reported in April with 54 new species which brings the total for the year to 242. In eBird Oklahoma County is up to 195 species but 7 central Oklahoma counties are still under 100. I appreciate those who help provide the history of central Oklahoma birds and can be contacted by e-mail at emkok@earthlink.net . Esther M. Key, Editor.